My fantastically large workload of late coupled with a deadline for my thesis means that this week I am conceptually brewing my blog beer this week.
I like to think that I know quite a bit about beer. I don’t know all that the human race knows about beer and the human race probably doesn’t know the majority of what there is to discover about the wondrous liquid. Most people don’t know very much about beer, or care to for that matter. A tiny amount of people know a lot about beer and a few people live in the twilight world of knowing a bit but not realising that this is not enough to make you an expert. We all know one. She/he will speak passionately about beer and shout you down with their “knowledge” which is supported by what they have read in an article by someone who has never brewed and who thinks that Bobek is the new name for Styrians. They will reel off flavour compounds which they don’t properly understand while condescending to advise professional brewers where they have gone wrong after tasting their beer once.
I once did a tour for a group of (let’s call them) beer enthusiasts. One of them, an overweight, balding man in a leather waistcoat (wastecoat) interrupted me to tell me that he knew a great deal more about beer than me and that I was talking rubbish. The gentleman in question had apparently learned all he needed to know to make this statement down a cellar with a rubber mallet. I’m not sure if after what happened next, he re-evaluated his views on his beer knowledge but he did learn that the human voice could backcomb hair and that his running speed is greatly improved when a size 11 boot is applied to his arse. I of course jest (or do I?). For these people brewing is science fiction. Drop in a few words from science and you can revel in your fantasy of being an authority on something without having to put in the years of work required to understand it.
When I make decisions about beer I treat information according to the following hierarchy
1. Something I have read which was written by a non brewer
2. Something I have read which was written by a home brewer
3. Advice from a professional brewer
4. Something I have read in a scientific paper
5. Advice from a professional brewer who makes good beer
6. Personal brewing experience
Only levels 4,5 and 6 are used for important decisions. WSB shall achieve greatness through brewing science fiction, gimmickry, bullshit and smarm. WSB will have the following exciting ingredients and attributes of production. None of which according to level 6 of my hierarchy make it a better beer.
• Organic floor-malted Marris Otter malt grown on hop compost by a American farmer
• Norwegian glacier water drawn from an ancient well deep under the brewery
• American calcium sulphate
• 12 stage decoction mash for well modified malt
• Organic green hops added to the mash
• Boiled for 12 hours with a green hop cone being added every 11 seconds
• Fermentation in slate square over a temperature ark of 60o by a yeast isolated from a bottle of Bass kings Ale
• Conditioning at 50oC and 30bar pressure for a week
• I need a miracle by Cascada played through a Marshall 4x12 next to the conditioning tank on a loop
• 2 weeks in a wooden cask previously used to mature calvados, going back and forth on the Hull to Zeebrugge ferry
• Fined with isinglass from catfish fed exclusively on Citra hop pellets
• Bottled into glass made from the windows from the old Hoegaarden brewhouse
• Added to a glass full of organic green hops when served
I’m still not sure it’s the world’s stupidest beer.